Maine is a state in the far north-eastern corner of the United States. Its limits are formed by the Atlantic Ocean, the international border with Canada, and the state border with neighboring New Hampshire. The state covers just over 35,300 square miles (90,500 sq km) of craggy coastline, low, undulating coastal ranges and the dense forests. The latter take up a sizeable area at its centre.
Despite the cold climate and challenging terroir here, a small but ever-growing wine industry is building up. The Maine Wine Trail links the cellar doors of around 20 wineries plus breweries, cidermakers and mead producers.
The industry here is focused on making fruit wines (i.e. fruits other than grapes). The climate – and the natural leaning towards fruit-based agriculture – has led local winemakers to capitalize on apple wines, cranberry, raspberry and particularly blueberry wines. Despite this, growers are experimenting with the hybrid varieties that are specifically bred for their ability to withstand cold. Plantings of Frontenac, Marechal Foch, Saint-Croix and Edelweiss are beginning to grace the vineyards of Maine.
Maine's wine production is concentrated along the coastline, where the Atlantic Ocean offers opportunities for temperature moderation. The Atlantic Gulf Stream, an oceanic current that brings warm equatorial waters up the eastern coast, has a small effect on the maritime climate of Maine. Here, the winters are slightly warmer and the summers slightly cooler than more-inland parts of the state, making it suitable (if not perfect) for viticulture.
A handful of vineyards are located on the low rolling hills in these coastal areas where cold air cannot pool. This protects the vines from spring frosts. However, the short growing season and cooler temperatures make ripening a challenge in some years. Wines made in Maine often undergo chaptalization to increase their potential alcohol levels.
Maine also has a fast-growing craft brewing industry. As of 2018 there were around 100 breweries in operation, up from 43 in 2012. There are around a dozen distilleries in the state.